Reuben’s Brews wins 200 medals in six years


Adam Robbings, the brewmaster and co-founder at Reuben’s Brews in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, once explained to me why he thinks it’s important to enter a lot of beer judging competitions. In short, he said that the feedback is very important and it helps him know that the brewery is on the right track. It’s a good strategy.

Sure, it’s about the feedback and the affirmation, but the medals are not such a bad thing either. As a result of the brewery’s pursuit of excellence, Reuben’s Brews certainly has won its share of hardware. In fact, the brewery just collected its 200th medal. This news comes on the heals of the brewery’s 6th anniversary.

The milestone medal was awarded recently at the Untied States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC), where Reuben’s Brews took home Best of the Northwest in the Pacific Region for Reuben’s Crush IPA, Lilywhite Wit, and Hop Tropic.

“We know that brewing great beers isn’t about the awards, but it certainly reinforces that our team is creating the kind of brews the craft beer community is seeking and enjoying,” said Adam Robbings.

Hop Tropic went on to be named the National Grand Champion in the Pale Ale category, an honor it has received for two consecutive years. Good Hair Day, a 25th anniversary brew created for Rudy’s Barbershop, received an Honorable Mention in the competition.

“The last six years have flown by! It’s hard to believe that our beers have won this many awards, from competitions at the regional, national and international level, in such a short time,” says Robbings. “We are always brewing new styles and approaches to our beers and to see such a wide variety of them be considered best in class makes us feel great about what we are doing.”

Some of Reuben’s most-honored beers are among the regular lineup. Year-round beers such as Crikey IPA, Pilsner, Gose and Robust Porter have taken earned accolades over the years in competitions like the Great American Beer Festival, European Beer Star, U.S. Open Beer Championships, Washington Beer Awards, and others.





  1. To take nothing away from Reubens (who makes very good beer), let’s be honest about how beer “competitions” work. Breweries pay to enter their beers – both direct entry fees which can be $100+/beer and the costs of shipping/sending beer. Then the competitions, which are often run by private for-profit organizations, award several medals in each of dozens of beer categories. In any given competition, hundreds of medals may be awarded. So, any given brewery’s medal count is far more influenced by how many beers/competitions they enter than how good their beer is. Many breweries call BS on the whole thing and don’t enter competitions. Does that mean their beer is not as good as the “award winning” breweries? Maybe. Maybe not. Beer is a marketing driven industry, just like all other spirits. Drink beer, not brands.

    1. Caveat emptor makes a good point. However, to quote the lottery ads: “You can’t win if you don’t play.” Who are these breweries you speak of that don’t enter? Seems to me that pretty much everybody displays some medals or mentions awards on their menu. I’m all for drinking good beer, but if a brand has a lot of medals it is pretty much always because they make great beer. They don’t just give those things away for fun. Granted, there’s a lot of competitions. But every medal winner I’ve tasted is really good. rueben’s is a brand I’m always looking for.

  2. Valid points, sure. There are a lot of breweries that never enter beers. There are a lot of breweries that enter beers often. There are some breweries that get tired of entering beers with nothing to show for it. There are a some breweries that really don’t care what anyone else thinks about their beer. But in the end, if you are among the many breweries that do enter beers or do care what other people think of your beers, and you win medals, it’s probably because you don’t suck.

    It is, for sure, true that some of our most ballyhooed and best-loved local breweries don’t bother entering competitions, but that does not diminish the accomplishments of those who do enter.

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